Tag Archives: internship

So much pressure

5 Apr

This week the editorial staff at work is conducting interviews for the summer internship. More times than not, the interviewees arrive plenty early and have to wait in the lobby (what good little go-getters) giving me time to chat them up. This afternoon a bright-eyed, curly red-head came in and announced she was here for her interview, with an enthusiasm I knew too well. We got to talking and she told me she was a freshman at USC, she grew up in the Valley, and went to Harvard Westlake (a very high-end private school that only accepts extreme success, not unsimilar to my own high school). Her first question to me was “Did you always want to be a lifestyle journalist?” I thought it was such an interesting way to ask a question, so specific. I was actually caught off guard and struggled to answer. So I turned the question back on her, her response “As long as I can remember.” I congratulated her on starting on the right path to success so early in her career. In truth, I was jealous, I had no idea this is where I’d be right now, and had I known that I wanted to be journalist (which I am not even sure if that is what I want to be) I would have been doing the exact same thing, trying to interview at the best place possible to get ahead of everyone else. This must be the reason that right now I feel so behind. With every new life path I choose to take, I always feel I am behind because everyone knew they wanted to do that job for their whole lives. I was raised based on the idea that you must work harder than everyone else to achieve success, so how can I even compete with people who have years of experience on me?  The answer is that I need to let go of the pressure I put on myself. I know there is no way to plan, life with play itself out the way its going to, and I really have no direct control over that. I need to see that the work I do now is not to compete but to grow. Even knowing these things, I can’t help but wish that I could go back just four years and choose differently, take different classes, do other internships, explore even more so I could be better prepared for now.

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Conflicting Opinions

15 Mar

My friend Megan sent me a great article from the LA Times this morning about the popularity of unpaid internships which brought up a lot of conflicting feelings.  The article introduces Ashley, a hardworking unpaid intern, who works her butt off but gets no financial compensation, and is 40 years old! As a recent graduate and former intern, I can very much relate to the feeling of working for nothing with the hope that something might come along and how demeaning it can feel. But this story put my last few months into a much clearer perspective.  Here is a woman at 40 who is having to do the same menial tasks that I am asked to do as a fresh graduate. This woman has years of experience on me, and  yet she is still filing papers and doing errands just like the rest of us. WOW!

So as I am sitting at my desk, sick and whining on my facebook about how I want to go home, I am reminded me that I am one of the lucky ones! I got a job, I had to work for it, but that work paid off, and I even probably had it easier than most. So thank you LA Times for putting me in my place, and reminding me to just be grateful.

But this article also points out how companies are taking advantage of interns.  I know first hand that it is extremely easy for companies to take advantage of these eager youngsters, and most of the time companies don’t even realize they are doing it. As this is becoming the reality for most recent graduates, colleges and universities need to educate about what grads should expect from an unpaid internship. There needs to be a clear understanding of  what is reasonable “menial work” and what is abusing the privilege of free labor.

The next problem comes when a intern recognizes they are being used improperly. How does the intern solve a conflict with a company that has the power to choose or not choose to give them a job in which they are desperate for? The answer is easy, they don’t, the intern just shuts their mouth, and deals with it. But that sucks!

I’m conflicted. I am grateful that internships give people a way of getting their foot in the door (me being one of them), while at the same time I am really angry that more times than not, these interns are being turned into personal errand boys without a voice. Where is the middle ground and who is the moderator?

Is it a bad thing?

28 Feb

One night I was in the kitchen speaking with my dad about my future and career, as we do almost any night we spend time together. I had once again announced that I was changing my career path, this time to be an editor in the publishing industry. This outburst that I wanted to be something new when I grew up would have been well accepted if I was 10 years old, but alas I am not, I am 22. As a recent college graduate that studied theater, secure about the idea wanting to go into the arts up until the very day of graduation, I have changed my career path at least 6 times in the last 10 months.

Now let me explain, when I say changed my career path, I mean changed the idea of what I want to do in the future, not necessarily bouncing from job to job. However,  I have had a steady stream of internships and flubbed interviews to help me discover my future path. This includes working with a unestablished fashion PR company, assisting Eva Longoria’s friend with charity events, working bar and bat mitzvah’s as an event coordinator, the worst interview of my life with Live Nation where I almost yelled out “I don’t know why I want to go into marketing!” when asked, to my most recent internship at a magazine where I currently work as a receptionist.

So here is the ongoing list of possible careers I have considered in the last 10 months.

1. Publicist

2. Event Coordinator

3. Marketing Account Executive

4. Stage Manager

5.  Back to Marketing Account Executive

6. Editor/ Journalist

So you can see that with my most recent announcement to my father that I now want to go into the publishing industry, not known for it’s current stability, that my dad exclaimed that I was incredibly impetuous! And I agree, but whoever said that was a bad thing?

So I invite you to join me as I sort through all of my passions and find my way in this world, and all the ups and downs that will happen along the way.